The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Burns

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Robbed

    5
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Groped

    9
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Groped

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1